Colorado Civil Unions Act Passes!

Today the House is expected to pass the Colorado Civil Unions Act, a bill that gives unmarried couples, notably GLBT couples, a broad array of rights that were previously reserved for married couples.

The Act is expected to be signed into law by Governor Hickenlooper very shortly. Civil Unions will give Colorado’s GLBT community access to some of the following partnership rights and obligations:

  • A duty to support your partner
  • Rights to inherit from your partner’s estate
  • The ability to make healthcare decisions on your partner’s behalf
  • The right to Divorce and Legal Separation Proceedings
  • Priority to be appointed as a conservator, guardian or personal representative of your partner
  • Survivor benefits under the worker’s compensation act
  • Treatment as a family member or spouse for purposes of unemployment benefits
  • The right to adopt your partner’s child as a step parent
  • The ability to cover your partner under state healthcare and pension plans
  • The right to file complaints and litigate on your partner’s behalf for claims arising from their wrongful death, treatment in nursing facilities, etc.
  • Eligibility for family leave benefits
  • Protection under domestic violence and protection order statutes
  • And much more

Marcus’ article on the passage of the Civil Union Act warns couples to be thoughtful as they proceed with a civil union. Even though a civil union appears to be less than marriage, it does impose some significant legal obligations, especially if you and your partner part ways. Marcus warns that because your union will now be subject to divorce law, you could end up owing alimony (spousal maintenance) and child support.  You could also have your property and debts divided and be forced to split parenting time of your children. This represents a major change from current law.

If you’re confused about how a civil union will impact your rights as a couple, please contact our office today for a free 30 minute consultation to learn about your rights and how GLBT lawyer Marcus Flinders can help you. Call (720) 204-4199 now!